A hectic college football season came to a close on Monday night and the AP released its final Top 25 rankings following the Clemson national title win over Alabama.
Penn State clocked in at No. 7 after finishing the regular season at a high of No. 5. The Rose Bowl loss to USC, who finished No. 3, might have knocked the Nittany Lions down two spots, but they still ended up the highest ranked team that lost a bowl game outside of the College Football Playoff.
Final AP top 25 …
6. Ohio St.
7. Penn St.
8. Florida St.
— ESPN (@espn) January 10, 2017
This is the first time Penn State finished in the AP Top 25 since 2009 and its highest ranking since finishing No. 3 in 2005. James Franklin is the first coach other than Joe Paterno to land the Nittany Lions in the season ending AP Top 25 since Rip Engle helped Penn State finish No. 9 in 1962.
With most of the starting lineup returning as many stars are electing to come back for their senior seasons, Penn State earned the No. 4 spot in ESPN’s “Way-To-Early” (hey, where have we heard that headline before?) Top 25.